Make Trade Shows Pay Off

- Monday, November 14, 2011

Trade shows take a lot of hard work, logistical planning and budgeting. From securing the space, figuring out what to display and outfitting the booth, there are many details that have to be managed.

But trade shows can generously pay off in quality leads, credibility, awareness and insight if they are well planned and executed.

Make your trade show investment a wise investment. Start by setting objectives. Identify what you want to accomplish by being there. Do you want to generate sales leads, increase brand awareness, promote a new product or service?

When exhibiting at a trade show, you'll need to consider the costs of registration, travel, lodging, meals and transportation, and the cost of your booth space, which will vary by size and location. Research what booths will be around you and identify whether the site is a high-traffic or low-traffic area. The budget also will need to include booth fixtures such as signage, additional lighting, extra-thick carpeting, giveaways for booth visitors, etc.

Your trade show display should represent your company's overall image, so keep it tidy and organized, display products in a way that will draw customers into your booth, and place marketing materials in easy-to-find areas. And if your booth space allows, have seating available.

Hold a short training session for booth staffers to explain the objectives and what is expected of them at the show. Be sure supplies are on hand to conduct business: product literature, pens, paper, business cards, media kits and order forms. Check to make sure any slideshow presentation or internet connections are working properly.

Attracting attendees should be one of your key objectives. In addition to friendly customer service and an appealing trade show exhibit, branded giveaways should be something attendees can take away from the show and use.

Once you get show participants into your booth, staffers should provide friendly and timely greetings, and be prepared to answer questions, offer demonstrations, and be able to create interest in your products or services.

Post-show follow-up is crucial. Send an email, letter or make a phone call shortly after the show wraps up to thank those you met with, answer any further questions and provide additional information.

With adequate preparation, the right trade show exhibit, the right booth staff and timely follow-up, trade shows give businesses the opportunity to build strong relationships and ultimately turn those relationships into valued customers.

Original article – Post Crescent

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